Gottfried Now Living the Dream

When Mark Gottfried was introduced as the new head man for NC State Basketball eighteen months ago, it’s probably a fair statement that all of us who have followed the Wolfpack for any considerable length of time were at least slightly underwhelmed, even if we were guardedly optimistic.

As Luke DeCock (N&O) reminds us today, Gott was selling the dream from the start, however.  And in my not so humble opinion (on this matter at least), he has more than delivered on any promises made thus far, even if we didn’t necessarily believe he could at that time….

RALEIGH — It was only a little more than a year ago that Mark Gottfried stood up in front of the Raleigh Sports Club and delivered an address that was about 99 percent promise and 1 percent substance.

At the time, that was the new N.C. State basketball coach’s job: Stoke the fires of a smoldering fan base, but without raising expectations too high. It required a delicate balance and left him describing his own team as “not great” and “not terrible.”


The Wolfpack is coming off a 24-win season that ended with a loss to Kansas in the Sweet 16, good for a fourth-place tie in the ACC.

C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown passed on the NBA to return to the Wolfpack, where Purvis is part of a high-powered recruiting class that also includes T.J. Warren and Tyler Lewis.

When the first AP poll comes out on Oct. 26, it’s likely N.C. State will be solidly in the top 10. When the ACC media gathers in Charlotte next week, there’s a chance the Wolfpack will be predicted to win the ACC.


“I’d love to stand up in front of every group and say we’re going to be a top-10 team,” Gottfried said on Sept. 28, 2011, after giving his speech to the sports club. “We’re not there yet.”

Fifty-three weeks later, they’re there now. It’s not a question of whether they have the talent, or whether they can do it. It’s only a question of whether they will.

“It’s no different than last year,” Gottfried said. “We were picked near the bottom, and that’s not something we paid attention to last year, and it’s not something we’re going to pay attention to this year. Regardless of where you’re picked, the only thing that counts is how hard you work each day and how well you do your job each day.

“Now, can our players truly grasp that? We’ll find out.”


Pretty heady stuff for a program that has been considered dead in the water for 20+ years.  Even more impressive for the guy who was widely described as a “has been”, or even a “never will be” by many of us, if not most of us.  Thank goodness at least one person in Wolfpack Nation had the vision to see Gott for what he could be, instead of what many said he was.  ‘Nuff said about that.

NC State Basketball is making a lot of noise in the media right now.  And while this doesn’t guarantee further on court success, it is a welcome change nonetheless.  Especially considering that we had all but become accustomed to being ridiculed, or worse…forgotten.

Getting the program back in the spotlight, and into the minds of recruits, was job one.  Check.

Landing our fair share of those recruits was next.  Check.

Now it’s time to see what he can do with the talent that’s been assembled.  I for one am trying to keep my expectations tempered.  You have to walk before you can run in most cases.  But if the comments from recruits and players are to be believed, as well as the unmistakable transformation of the TEAM culture and the development of certain individual personnel, both on the court and off….I wouldn’t stake any of my money betting against Gott completing his plan.

Regardless of what happens, there’s no doubt that Debbie Yow made a much better pick than many of us gave her credit for at the time.  Coach Gottfried and his staff have apparently turned things around more effectively, and much more quickly, than even the most optimistic of us could have imagined.

So, as the official start of the ’12-’13 campaign draws near, a much deserved tip of the hat to both Coach Gottfried and AD Yow.  And a big thanks, too.  This is a whole lot more fun than sucking out loud year after year.

A whole lot of unique NC State discussions are going on over at the SFN Forums….don’t be the only one who isn’t in on the fun!

About Wufpacker

A 2nd generation alumnus and raised since birth to be irrationally dedicated to all things NC State. Class of '88 and '92.

12-13 Basketball

20 Responses to Gottfried Now Living the Dream

  1. coach13 10/08/2012 at 8:12 PM #

    I was a freshman at State in 90-91. I was there for the beginning of the end. Now I am excited for (finally) the rebirth.

  2. packalum44 10/08/2012 at 8:16 PM #

    A cool interview posted on

    Gott and staff (I think Mox/Early deserve tremendous praise for recruiting efforts and Lutz for player development, strategy and breaking down film) are the real deal. Glad they received raises and hope the other assistants get to share in that performance based compensation that both Gott and Lutz received in the off season.

  3. wolfonthehill 10/08/2012 at 9:21 PM #

    89-90 was my freshman year, coach. The stuff about V broke riiiiiight about the time I sent in my acceptance letter. Talk about feeling like the curse…

  4. blpack 10/08/2012 at 9:51 PM #

    Good times await ahead. We will battle the Dukies for top honors in the league and get plenty of national attention. Should be a fun ride.

  5. StateMan 10/08/2012 at 9:59 PM #

    I got my season tickets a few weeks ago, anybody sitting in 211?

  6. NCSU84 10/08/2012 at 10:10 PM #

    I have gotten over my giddiness, and must now face reality. Those of us who have been around a while understand that pre-season accolades do not mean a whole lot. We have seen too many promising teams fall short of expectations. Bottom line, our team MUST prove their capabilities on the court. Polls and praise will not cut it.

  7. eas 10/08/2012 at 11:13 PM #

    I want to dominate this year but honestly if we don’t do as well as predicted I won’t complain. We have a passionate coach who “get’s it” and understands the fan base. He proved without a shadow of a doubt that he can relate to the players and get 110% out of them. He recruits exceptionally well and put together a top notch staff of coaches.

    So yea I want the best but this is the most progress we have seen in over 20 years. Yes he did more in one year than all of the previous coaches combined (well just the past 3 coaches that is). It may be luck, hard work, good coaching….who knows exactly. He is the closest thing we have seen to V around here and that is exactly what we need at this time. Our program is energized and the media has amazingly forgotten about HWSNBN. Great call Yow even if it was a last minute decision.

  8. Hungwolf 10/09/2012 at 6:46 AM #

    I was one of the few that said Gottfried was a great hire. A well prepared goal oriented Godly man given a second chance will usually deliver!

  9. Rick 10/09/2012 at 7:56 AM #

    ““I was really confident with coach Gottfried, and I can see it paid off with the tournament and what he’s done for the university,” Purvis said Monday. “I was super excited. I had all my friends excited, even people who were Carolina fans, Duke fans, I turned them into State fans. Anytime they won, I felt like I was winning too.”

    I really like this kid.

  10. Rick 10/09/2012 at 7:57 AM #

    My only concern about Gott at this point is how much of this is because of the staff and what will happen when they leave. And they will, all three will end up being a head coach somewhere.

  11. NCSU84 10/09/2012 at 8:37 AM #

    Rick, your concern may not be much of an issue. BB in the ACC is a little different from FB. Think about it, Duke, UNC, KY, TX, KS, etc. have had to address the staff issue in BB for many years. How do they handle it? And please do not give me the “we are not at their level yet” speech – because we are and always have been.

  12. charger17 10/09/2012 at 9:11 AM #

    I don’t want to forget the main point of the article – Debbie Yow if you’re reading this, THANK YOU!

  13. packalum44 10/09/2012 at 10:34 AM #

    Only a few coaches in the country are capable of screwing up with top 10 talent. Sid was one of them.

    As long as Gott keeps bringing in 4 and 5 star kids, we will be relevant. He doesn’t have to be a great coach (he’s easily a pretty darn good one haven’t seen enough to label him a “great” one).

    Remember when he came in and was asked what he learned his 2 years as an analyst….usually the teams with the better talent won. Not profound on its face, but important if you want to realize where his head is at and what his strategy is here.

    He’s no Paul “I wish i could chop like Tom O’Brien” Bunyan. This dude isn’t on the let’s chop some wood strategy. He’s on the Roy Williams/Sean Miller/Calipari let’s get the best talent strategy.

    He’s fortunate to be at roughly one of 20 schools that gives him the resources to do that. We’re fortunate to have selected someone with the personality, drive and chutzpah to go after the best kids.

  14. Rick 10/09/2012 at 11:03 AM #

    “How do they handle it? And please do not give me the “we are not at their level yet” speech – because we are and always have been.”

    When have you ever seen me say this? Please do not predict my response especially when you are this wrong.

  15. Texpack 10/09/2012 at 1:16 PM #

    “Remember when he came in and was asked what he learned his 2 years as an analyst….usually the teams with the better talent won.”

    If you are able to grasp this concept and subordinate your ego to it, you have gone a long way toward building a winner.

    I’ve posted this observation many times before but it bears repeating. There have been way more over-hyped freshman BB players in the ACC over the 45 or so years I can remember watching basketball than there have been under-hyped freshmen.

  16. Wufpacker 10/09/2012 at 1:33 PM #

    Rick I am also concerned, at least in the back of my mind about the assts, who I agree are all on track to be out of here within a few years, Lutz maybe after this year. Fortunately, and especially considering what has already transpired in the past 18 months, I think DY will be in Gott’s corner to try to go out and get whomever he thinks will be good replacements when that time comes.

    And yeah, within reason I think that will include the financial backing to get great candidates.

  17. NCSU84 10/09/2012 at 3:49 PM #

    Sorry Rick, but this IS a blog and I can predict responses if I so choose. BTW, you never really gave a response to the question (perhaps you do not have one).

  18. runwiththepack 10/09/2012 at 3:50 PM #

    I didn’t notice Gott much while he was coaching elsewhere (mostly i suppose because we were never doing anything in the big dance when Gott was doing good things at Alabama).

    But when he was hired, I thought his resume showed that he was a proven winner.

    But when he took his jacket off and drew a T, I had a feeling that we had found our man.

  19. wufpup76 10/09/2012 at 5:49 PM #

    Very happy for Coach Gottfried that he’s getting some love and seems very comfortable with himself and comfortable with being here.

    I admit that I was underwhelmed by the hire, but his work ethic, knowledge and – perhaps most importantly with respect to the fan base – his great personality and ability to say the right thing at the right time all won me over throughout last season. He has been a perfect fit.

    As for the upcoming season, I’ve said to anybody that will listen (not many, if they have any sense 🙂 ) – that I think we’re possibly too highly ranked to start the season. We’ll possibly or quite probably have a couple of ‘meh’ or ‘wtf’ losses … But – barring injuries – I know we’ll be really tough by the end of the season.

    Coach Gottfried has alluded to similar thoughts along these lines and I completely agree. He seems keenly focused and very practical … ‘Prove it, don’t say it’.

    Anyhoo, the goal is getting there. Once you’re there you can do anything and anything can happen. I’ll take our team’s (and coaches’) chances if we do make it.

    Go Pack

  20. Rick 10/10/2012 at 8:50 AM #

    “Sorry Rick, but this IS a blog and I can predict responses if I so choose. BTW, you never really gave a response to the question (perhaps you do not have one).”

    Why don’t you predict what I am going to say.

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